FEDERAL ELECTION BRIEF
On Monday October 21, 2019, Canadians voted in the 43rd general election.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau will form a minority government having won 157 seats (-20), and falling short of a second majority government by 13 seats.
Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives won 121 seats (+26), but had the highest share of the popular vote at 34.4%, compared to 33% for the Liberals.
Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party (NDP) won a total of 24 seats (-15), while the Bloc Quebecois had a strong night, tripling their total to 32 seats (+22). Both parties can be expected to take on increased importance in the new parliament, as the Liberals seek to find a workable majority in the House of Commons.
The Green Party picked up three seats, including one in New Brunswick, but did not do as well as many had expected.
Where was the support?
The Liberals maintained government by holding onto most of their seats in Ontario and Quebec. In Ontario, the Liberals went into the election with 76 seats and successfully won 77, including all of Toronto, and most of the GTA. At dissolution, the Liberals had 40 seats in Quebec, and despite the rise of the Bloc Quebecois, they only lost 5 seats in the Province. In Atlantic Canada, a region the Liberals swept in 2015, they picked up 26 of the 32 seats. Fortunes for the Liberals were markedly different out west. While the Liberals won some seats in Manitoba and British Columbia, they were shut out entirely of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and this is likely to feature prominently in the next Parliament, as they seek to govern for the whole country.
The Conservatives had a high turnout in the Prairies, winning 70% of the vote in Alberta and 65% of the vote in Saskatchewan, but fell short in other parts of the country, especially in Ontario and the GTA, where they were expected to make gains, and needed to if they had a shot at forming government.
Despite late polls that appeared to indicate a surge in support, the NDP failed to make a breakthrough in Ontario, particularly in Toronto, and lost seats to the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec for the second election in a row.
Heading into his second mandate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will face new challenges as he must now work with other parties in parliament. Both the Bloc Quebecois and NDP are potential options to support the Liberals, and the coming weeks will determine how the new dynamic could unfold. Jagmeet Singh, for instance, indicated in the lead up to the election, that several issues would inform the basis for NDP support of a Liberal minority government, including a national pharmacare plan, a national dental care plan, interest free student loans, reducing cellphone bills, investments in housing, climate change and the introduction of a “super-wealth” tax. The NDP have also stressed the importance of changing Canada’s electoral system to “proportional representation.”
- All members of Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet were re-elected, with the exception of Ralph Goodale (Public Safety, Emergency Preparedness) and Amarjeet Sohi (Natural Resources).
- Ralph Goodale, a key Trudeau minister lost to the Conservatives in the riding of ReginaWascana, after serving for four decades.
- Amarjeet Sohi lost his riding of Edmonton Mill Woods to the Conservatives.
- Conservative deputy leader, Lisa Raitt, lost to Liberal Adam van Koeverden after serving in the riding of Milton for 11 years.
- The People’s Party of Canada leader, Maxime Bernier, lost his riding of Beauce to the Conservatives after 13 years.
- Helena Jaczek, former Ontario health minister, won in the riding of Markham-Stoufville, defeating former cabinet minister Jane Philpott, who was running as an independent.
- Jodi Wilson-Raybould, former Liberal cabinet minister, won her riding of Vancouver Granville as an independent, following Trudeau’s SNC-Lavalin scandal.
In the coming weeks, the Liberals will finalize their plans for operating in the new minority government. This will likely involve ministerial staff changes, a cabinet shuffle and preparations for a throne speech.
Critically, the Liberals will now negotiate with the other parties to determine a working majority in parliament.
With most of Trudeau’s cabinet getting re-elected (with exception of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Minister of Natural Resources), it is possible that the cabinet positions remain largely the same, which would be good news for stakeholders who were already making gains on some of their advocacy efforts prior to the election. Regardless, stakeholders should prepare for changes both at the cabinet and staffing levels.
As more information becomes available and a timeline for the return of the House of Commons is announced, the S&A team will ensure you are kept informed. This is an important time and we remain available to provide you any further information or analysis you may require.
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